Today was the second prayer walk and once again, we walked various streets in Goldthorpe, praying that God would bring life by His Spirit to this place.

So many parts of Goldthorpe are ruined and desolate. The church that used to meet on Frederick Street has closed:

The Barnsley British Cooperative Society used to have a building here, but this is now just a house and the commemorative plaque is damaged:

But the picture is not all doom and gloom. We saw more new houses being built today:

The old secondary school was demolished and a new building (Dearne ALC) is now open:

The Dearne Enterprise Centre on Barnburgh Lane works hard to offer adult education classes, training and benefits advice as well as giving opportunities for volunteering (this is where I first learnt to use a computer twenty-five years ago!)

And JJ’s Chippy on Frederick Street was celebrating 15 years of trading today, offering various raffle prizes to loyal customers:

We live in the physical world, but we also inhabit the spiritual world since we have been seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Eph 2:6). There are times when all we see with our natural eyes is desolation and death, barrenness and brokenness. Last week we were encouraged by Isaiah 58:12 (“Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.”) This week, I have been greatly encouraged by Ezekiel 37, inspired by the song ‘Awake My Soul’ on the new Chris Tomlin album, ‘Burning Lights’. This song looks at how we need God’s Spirit to breathe on us and God’s word to speak to us if we are to have life. In Ezekiel 37, Ezekield sees the miraculous as the valley of dry bones comes to life as he prophesies in obedience to God:

‘Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.”’ So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet – a vast army.’ (Ezek 37:9-10)

“Breathe on me, breath of God, breathe on me
Breathe on me, breath of God, breathe on me
I come alive, I’m alive when You breathe on me
I come alive, I’m alive when You breathe on me

Awake, awake, awake my soul,
God, resurrect these bones
From death to life, through You alone
Awake my soul.” (‘Awake My Soul’, Chris Tomlin)

‘Awake My Soul’, Chris Tomlin, featuring Lecrae

As I walk the streets of Goldthorpe, this is my prayer: ‘God, breathe on these streets. Breathe on these people. God, resurrect these bones. God, where there are broken walls, repair them. Where there are streets with boarded-up houses, restore them. Where there is death, bring life.’ Only God can do this, but our God is able!